We’ve all been told the standard advice on enhancing productivity on the job: don’t multi-task, minimize interruptions, say no to meetings, set self-imposed deadlines, etc.
But what about the manipulation of background sound? Can boosting work productivity really be as simple as playing certain types of music or sounds?
It turns out that both music and nature sounds have been found to have favorable effects at work.
Let’s begin with nature sounds.
The Acoustical Society of America presented findings indicating that workers can get more done and feel more optimistic at work when nature sounds are playing in the background.
The study consisted of three sessions in the same room, where researchers had participants complete tests while listening to a variety of soundscapes. Each session had a unique type of sound playing in the background, as follows:
- First session: office sounds muffled by white noise
- Second session: office sounds muffled by nature sounds
- Third session: office sounds with no masking noise
The final results? The staff members performed better on the tests when listening to nature sounds and also felt more positive about the environment and the job.
The nature sounds were also greatly preferred over the white noise even though white noise offered a comparable masking effect.
Here’s a playlist of calming nature sounds for you to experiment with yourself.
If you’re not into nature sounds, research from the University of Windsor demonstrates that listening to music can have comparable positive impacts on work productivity.
They discovered that listening to music in the workplace improves mood and lowers stress and anxiety, which brings about an emotional state conducive to elevated creative problem solving.
Participants that listened to music described better moods, produced higher quality work, and invested less time on each task.
Granted, the study was confined to information technology specialists, but there’s good reason to believe the effect is more prevalent.
What style of music was revealed to have the largest effect? It turns out that the genre is less relevant than the positive emotional response it evokes in the listener.
Which means the difference between classical music and hard rock is trivial as long as the music improves your mood.
Did you know that many hearing aid models enable you to stream music straight to the hearing aids from your smartphone or mp3 player?
If you have hearing loss, or are thinking about an upgrade, ask us about the latest technology you could use to start boosting productivity at work.